Raila faults church for failing to call out Kenya Kwanza excesses

Azimio leader Raila Odinga speaks with Rev. Charles Ongijo at St Stephen’s Anglican Church of Kenya in Kisumu. [Michael Mute, Standard]

Azimio leader Raila Odinga has accused the church of neglecting Kenyans and instead supporting bad policies of the Kenya Kwanza government that have worsened the hard economic times.

Raila challenged the church to speak the truth to power on the high cost of living.

Speaking during service at St Stephens Anglican Church of Kenya in Kisumu on Sunday, he claimed that the people who were masquerading as true Christians, talking about liberating the people from poverty and ignorance have turned out to be the oppressors.

The opposition leader asked the church to emulate the late Bishop Charles Okulu, Bishop David Gitari and others who never shied away from taking on the government.

He said the church leaders were prepared to stand out at the time speaking the truth was treason.

"But they spoke the truth to power. We want the church to speak the truth to power, to tell those in power that Kenyans are hurting. It is not a question of just increasing taxes. Yes, we have debts but reduce taxes and broaden the tax base. You do not borrow to pay debts. You are in a deep hole but keep digging," Raila noted.

The Azimio leader specifically pointed out the Anglican Church, claiming that it has failed Kenyans.

He lauded the Catholic Church for being bold enough to speak for Kenyans and the role they have been playing during adversities affecting families.

Raila however noted that Rev Sammy Wainaina the former provost of All Saints Cathedral has remained steadfast and spoke on behalf of the Anglican Church.

He said Provost Wainana is on record having told off hypocrites in the church that what they have been doing is responsible for the problems Kenyans are facing today.

"Former Provost Wainana has told them off, that they praise people and put them on levels of saints, that they are true Christians and elevating them to the level where they think are completely untouchable," he said.

"I am a proud member of the Anglican Church but sometimes I feel embarrassed when they are silent when immorality and unfairness is meted against Kenyans," he added.

"There is nothing wrong in collecting taxes, what is wrong is embezzling taxes. Then also if those taxes are punitive, it is very wrong."

St Stephen ACK Kisumu Reverend Charles Onginjo echoed Raila's sentiments saying there is need for the church to speak up.

He defended the Anglican Church saying it was also speaking for Kenyans but they were divided with one side supporting the government and unable to point out the ills of the Kenya Kwanza government.

"We are speaking, we are not united because state capture is real. Some of us have never seen what is wrong with President William Ruto's government. They are so inside and so unable to speak of the ills that need to be addressed," he said.

"For example, the issue of recruitment of teachers is a preserve of the Teachers Service Commission but elsewhere, we hear MPs walking with recruitment letters in their briefcases handing over to their supporters and that will compromise the quality of teachers being recruited. So this is something I am calling on our MPs to talk about on the floor of the house. This is actually touching on MPs allied to the government," he added.

He accused the President of using the church to win the support of Kenyans.

"It is for this reason, we are where we are. But the church also accepted to be used, so next time they must be careful. Whoever comes in the name of God may not be the true prophet because even Jesus said not everyone who calls me Lord will enter my kingdom but only those who do my will," said Rev Onginjo.

Raila was accompanied by Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong'o, Siaya Senator Oburu Oginga, Kisumu Deputy Governor Mathews Owili, MPs Joshua Oron and Aduma Owuor.